Gardening Question of the Day

I'm hoping to add orange-colored flowers to my garden this summer. What do you suggest?

You should be able to find many varieties at your local nursery because orange seems to be "in" this year. Look for Tithonia, Zinnia linearis, Leonotis leonurus 'Staircase' (commonly known as lion's-ear), and poppies. In roses, apricot, blush, and peach tones are in vogue.

Last 7 Days

What bulbs might work near my black walnut tree?

Glory-of-the-Snow, crocus, Spanish blue bell, snowdrop, grape hyacinth, and many daffodil and tulip varieties can thrive in the shade and soil of your black walnut.

What time of year should fence posts be put in the ground?

We recommend just after mud season or after the ground has had a chance to thaw and re-settle down. In the northeast, May is good.

Is it harmful to water my household plants with softened water?

Softened water could harm some plants if that's all you use on them. It is most likely to do harm to any plant that really prefers a light or sandy soil. The sodium ions in softened water tends to cause the soil to become compacted, destroying its aeration and its ability to hold water. So, we would advice caution if you're using softened water. Don't use cold water to water your plants. The best temperature is room temperature!

I recently moved into a very old home that came with a very old raspberry patch. I pruned and cleaned it out last year, but it didn't do well. Is there anything in particular that raspberry bushes like that may give my berries a boost for the coming summer?

Pruning is the key. Make sure that you prune out all the old brown canes. Lop them off at ground level. Leave only six of the strongest green canes per 12 inches of running row, or nine canes per 18 inches. And don't let plants grow outside an 18-inch-wide row. Mow down new unruly shoots, or you'll end up with a jungle instead of neat rows.

How high should I stake my pole beans? And how far apart should I plant cabbage?

Stake your beans to a height that's comfortable for you, then train them to go down. Plant cabbage 12 to 24 inches apart in the row, depending upon the variety and the size of head desired. The closer the spacing, the smaller the heads. Early varieties are usually planted 12 inches apart in all directions. Early varieties produce 1 to 3 pound heads and later varieties produce 4 to 8 pound heads. Sow cabbage seed 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep. Keep the seeds moist and thin or transplant the seedlings to the desired spacing. The plants removed may be transplanted to another row or flat.

Should I consider buying a Christmas tree that can be replanted after the holiday? Is replanting usually successful?

Not everyone will want to change holiday traditions to try this, but it's something to consider. Some growers are now selling their trees in soil balls that can be replanted. The idea is to buy the tree close to the holiday and keep it outdoors until about a day before Christmas. In areas where the ground is not frozen, it should be replanted immediately after Christmas. It's not advisable to use too many decorations or any electric lights, as the lights might take the tree out of dormancy and cause it to die when replanted. So that doesn't give you as much leeway as a cut tree does. The soil ball must be kept wet at all times. When planted, the tree must be watered well, and there should be no air pockets in the soil. It also must be watered during thaws, especially during dry winters. Staking it will prevent root damage from strong winds. If frozen ground prevents planting, the tree can be kept in a sheltered location outdoors, and the soil ball can be kept warm with a foot-thick covering of straw or other mulch.

Is there an herb that goes best with anise in the garden?

Plant anise with coriander, which promotes its germination and growth. Plant in full sun and light, dry soil.

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